The Hogs are headed to Omaha! With a statement win over SEC foe South Carolina, they propel themselves into the College World Series. The hogs hit early and often, with senior Luke Bonfield going 3 for 4 with 4 RBIs and the series spark plug Carson Shaddy hitting a three-run bomb in the first inning. Isaiah Campbell went 4 solid innings, allowing only two runs on a crazy passed ball play that still has no conclusive answer as to what happened. Either way, he kept his composure before handing off to Barrett Loeske, Jake Reindl, Kole Rammage, and finally the closer, Matt Cronin, who hit 96mph on the radar gun.
Arkansas cruised to a 14-4 win and did so in convincing fashion, beating a team they had to face 7 times in a season. The hogs led 7-0 after two innings, stirring the crowd for a celebration. With seats still full, Eric Cole caught the fly ball and the celebration was underway. After the dogpile, the players immediately turned their attention to the crowd, which topped 33,000 for the weekend. They called the Hogs, circled the field, and stayed to sign for as many fans as possible.
While the celebration was in full tilt, 2018 was added to the outfield fence where the list of College World Series Appearances is listed. In the post-game, Carson Shaddy thanked Head Coach Dave Van Horn for the best four years of his life, showing plenty of emotion. Van Horn simply replied, “You sure did earn that scholarship.” It is that closeness that has marked this team through adversity and now on to the biggest stage in college baseball.
Not lost on any Arkansas fan is the opponents that await the Hogs in Omaha. They will face former Southwest Conference rival and eternal nemesis, Texas. For now, the hogs will get a few days rest, travel north, and focus on the big picture as a legitimate national championship contender.